York faculty accomplishments echo findings in Council of Ontario Universities report

A photograph of Vari Hall

A report released Aug. 26 by the Council of Ontario Universities (COU) shows that university faculty and librarians provide measurable and important benefits to the postsecondary system.

The COU, which represents the province’s 21 universities, captured 77 per cent of Ontario’s full-time faculty in the study, which is Canada’s first major study of faculty work. It was conducted by the COU to help build public understanding about the work of university faculty and librarians and their important role in research, making new discoveries, community service and preparing students for success.

The “Faculty At Work” report includes data from York University, Ontario’s second largest university, which was one of 17 of Ontario’s 21 publicly assisted universities surveyed in the report. The responses captured some 10,867 professors from across the province.

“It is important for the Ontario university sector to have accurate and comparable data about the work that we do in the Canadian context,” says York University Provost and Vice-President Academic Rhonda Lenton. “The data allows us to better articulate our impact in the areas of teaching and learning, research discovery and knowledge exchange, and community outreach and service.”

Rhonda Lenton
Rhonda Lenton

Specific to York University are the following key facts:

  • York University employs 46 distinguished research professors.
  • York University hosts 31 of the country’s top scholars with the title of Canada Research Chair.
  • York University’s community includes 19 active fellows of the Royal Society of Canada.
  • York University is one of Canada’s top 10 schools for extraordinary contributions to research in social sciences and humanities, and sciences.

Key findings province wide:

•          Ontario universities had the highest student-to-faculty ratio in Canada in all but one year in the past decade.
•          Ontario universities have exceeded the national average in externally sponsored research per full-time faculty in the past decade.
•          Ontario universities have granted more degrees per full-time faculty member than the Canadian average.
•          The vast majority of full professors – 87 per cent – are teaching undergraduates.
•          The vast majority of faculty – 87 per cent – produced research outputs in the year measured.
•          The vast majority of faculty – 81 per cent – participated in service work of some kind.
•          Senior faculty are more strongly engaged in administrative work, while junior faculty are more active in other forms of service.
•          On average, Ontario faculty members devote 40 per cent of work to research, 40 per cent to teaching and 20 per cent to service.

The next phase of the study aims to include more universities and widen the scope of work measured.

“Ontario universities have been aware that there isn’t adequate data on faculty work and wanted to change that,” says Bonnie Patterson, COU’s president and CEO. “What we found was that university faculty play a tremendous role in research, teaching and service, even in the face of surging demand and constrained resources.”

The study’s next phase will expand the number of participating universities, aim to have all institutions report in the same census year, capture the full range of non-classroom teaching and gather longitudinal data to track trends over time.

For more information, read the full report.